Post List

  • November 23, 2009
  • 07:53 PM

Genes Don't Make You Racist

by Daniel Hawes in Ingenious Monkey | 20-two-5

In conditioning experiments, humans learn the fear of snakes more easily than they learn to be afraid flowers., and there is an evolutionary story to be told for this.
In a similar experiment, participants show strong outgroup bias in learning fear responses based on other people's skin color; which has sometimes been cited as support for the innateness of negative predispositions towards people who are "different" from ourselves. Luckily, a scientifically more appealing, explanations exist........... Read more »

Tiago V. Maia. (2009) Fear Conditioning and Social Groups: Statistics, Not Genetics. Cognitive Science, 33(7), 1232-1251. info:/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2009.01054.x

  • November 23, 2009
  • 07:09 PM

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice?

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

If we are what we eat, then we might expect children who eat a lot of candy to be sweet and lovable. Quite the opposite, according to recent research. Authors of a study published in a recent issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry claim that children who eat a lot of confectionery treats are [...]... Read more »

  • November 23, 2009
  • 06:30 PM

Semantic Web Applications and Tools for the Life Sciences (SWAT4LS) 2009, Amsterdam

by Duncan Hull in O'Really?

Last Friday, the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam hosted a workshop Semantic Web Applications and Tools for the Life Sciences (SWAT4LS) 2009.
Following on from last year [1], the workshop proceedings will be published at and in a special issue of the Journal of Biomedical Semantics, but if you want to find out [...]... Read more »

  • November 23, 2009
  • 05:13 PM

Looking for planets? It’s all about the lithium!

by Invader Xan in Supernova Condensate

I have a lot of respect for planet hunters. It’s not an easy job. Discovering and confirming the existence of a planet requires a lot of patience, and I’d imagine it must be frustrating at times. So I’m sure a few planet hunters are rejoicing at the news that knowing which stars to look at just became a lot easier. All you have to do is look for lithium.... Read more »

Israelian, G., Mena, E., Santos, N., Sousa, S., Mayor, M., Udry, S., Cerdeña, C., Rebolo, R., & Randich, S. (2009) Enhanced lithium depletion in Sun-like stars with orbiting planets. Nature, 462(7270), 189-191. DOI: 10.1038/nature08483  

  • November 23, 2009
  • 03:38 PM

Sex and death: a model of density-dependent virulence

by Devin Drown in Coevolvers

Providing evidence that supports the role of parasites driving the maintenance of sex (i.e. the Red Queen hypothesis) has been a challenge ever since it was proposed. Both theoreticians and empiricists have tackled this hypothesis with vigor to mixed results. This week we read Lively (2009) which focuses on a singular effect to help build a theoretical argument for the Red Queen, density-dependent virulence. Here virulence is defined as the effect of the parasite on the host population growth........ Read more »

  • November 23, 2009
  • 02:24 PM

Brain Damage, Pedophilia, and the Law

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

An intriguing and tragic story of brain damage is reported in the latest issue of Neurocase: Klüver-Bucy syndrome, hypersexuality, and the law.The authors are Devinsky, Sacks, and Devinsky - Sacks being neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks. Their anonymous patient, a 51 year old married American man, is currently serving a jail sentence for downloading child pornography. But he's not your average pedophile.The man's problems began at the age of 19 when he -first suffered attacks of déjà vu........ Read more »

Devinsky J, Sacks O, & Devinsky O. (2009) Kluver-Bucy syndrome, hypersexuality, and the law. Neurocase : case studies in neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, and behavioural neurology, 1-6. PMID: 19927260  

  • November 23, 2009
  • 01:51 PM

Crossbow: NGS Informatics in the Cloud

by Daniel Koboldt in Massgenomics

Just online at Genome Biology is a new paper from the Steven Salzberg lab (UMD) on searching for SNPs with cloud computing.  Using $85 of computing time rented from Amazon’s EC2, Langmead et al processed an entire human genome - 3.3 billion reads totaling 38x coverage - in three hours.

The “Cloud” Can Be Nebulous
Cloud computing [...]... Read more »

Ben Langmead, Michael C. Schatz, Jimmy Lin, Mihai Pop and Steven L. Salzberg. (2009) Searching for SNPs with cloud computing. Genome Biology, 10(R134). info:/doi:10.1186/gb-2009-10-11-r134

  • November 23, 2009
  • 11:01 AM

Natural selection among us: The Kuru epidemic

by Brian Appleby in CJD Blogger

Kuru is an acquired prion disease, transmitted through ritualistic cannibalism, that reached epidemic proportions in the Fore tribe of Papua New Guinea.  In a previous post, I presented an article by John Collinge’s group on the selection process of heterozygosity at codon 129 of the prion protein gene (PRNP).  The research group has gone a step further by recently describing a new polymorphism of the PRNP gene, G129V. The authors performed PRNP genotyping of 3,000 individuals from ........ Read more »

Mead S, Whitfield J, Poulter M, Shah P, Uphill J, Campbell T, Al-Dujaily H, Hummerich H, Beck J, Mein CA.... (2009) A Novel Protective Prion Protein Variant that Colocalizes with Kuru Exposure. The New England journal of medicine, 361(21), 2056-2065. PMID: 19923577  

  • November 23, 2009
  • 10:20 AM

The ‘negatome’ – a database of negative information…

by Jim Caryl in mental indigestion

WE researchers often joke that no-one ever publishes negative results, but that doesn’t mean to say that negative results aren’t extremely useful. One one level, knowledge of such negative results can prevent you repeating the same mistakes that countless other researchers, in other labs, have undoubtedly made over the years. On the other hand, they [...]... Read more »

Smialowski, P., Pagel, P., Wong, P., Brauner, B., Dunger, I., Fobo, G., Frishman, G., Montrone, C., Rattei, T., Frishman, D.... (2009) The Negatome database: a reference set of non-interacting protein pairs. Nucleic Acids Research. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkp1026  

Stumpf, M., Thorne, T., de Silva, E., Stewart, R., An, H., Lappe, M., & Wiuf, C. (2008) From the Cover: Estimating the size of the human interactome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(19), 6959-6964. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0708078105  

Venkatesan, K., Rual, J., Vazquez, A., Stelzl, U., Lemmens, I., Hirozane-Kishikawa, T., Hao, T., Zenkner, M., Xin, X., Goh, K.... (2008) An empirical framework for binary interactome mapping. Nature Methods, 6(1), 83-90. DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.1280  

  • November 23, 2009
  • 09:05 AM

Aphid-tending ants cull the sick from the herd

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Just released online at Biology Letters: aphid-tending ants have been observed to selectively remove sick members of their "herd" [$-a].

Most aphid species produce some sort of sweet honeydew as waste while feeding on their host plants; ant-attended aphid species use this honeydew to attract ants. In many cases, the ants "milk" the aphids by stroking them to prompt release of the honeydew. While exploiting a colony of aphids, ants defend it as a food resource, protecting the aphids from predato........ Read more »

  • November 23, 2009
  • 09:00 AM

Why are some ski slopes much worse for the ecosystem than others?

by Rob Goldstein in Conservation Maven

A new study finds that "not all ski slopes are created equal" when it comes to impacts to fragile, high-elevation ecosystems.... Read more »

  • November 23, 2009
  • 08:23 AM

Using Chocolate to Exterminate Coyotes

by Martin Robbins in The Lay Scientist

Chocolate, like many of the things we eat regularly, is a potentially fatal poison, and so it should come as no surprise that a study by the unimaginatively-named John Johnston (at the USDA National Wildlife Research Center) shows that our favourite sweet could prove to be an effective pesticide, for use against coyotes [1].
Chocolate, or rather the theobromine and caffiene it contains, is potentially fatal to many creatures, but of course "the poison is the dose." Humans are particularly ef........ Read more »

  • November 23, 2009
  • 07:56 AM

“Hey! Where’s that cancer cell going?” and “M-cells, gateways to the mucosal immune system”, in my picks of the week from RB

by Alejandro Montenegro-Montero in MolBio Research Highlights

Another week has gone by and some very interesting molbio blog posts have been aggregated to Every week [see my opening post on the matter], I'll select some blog posts I consider particularly interesting in the field of molecular biology [see here to get a sense of the criteria that will be used], briefly describe them and list them here for you to check out.Note that I'm ... Read more »

SAHAI, E. (2005) Mechanisms of cancer cell invasion. Current Opinion in Genetics , 15(1), 87-96. DOI: 10.1016/j.gde.2004.12.002  

Hase, K., Kawano, K., Nochi, T., Pontes, G., Fukuda, S., Ebisawa, M., Kadokura, K., Tobe, T., Fujimura, Y., Kawano, S.... (2009) Uptake through glycoprotein 2 of FimH bacteria by M cells initiates mucosal immune response. Nature, 462(7270), 226-230. DOI: 10.1038/nature08529  

  • November 23, 2009
  • 07:39 AM

Wood, It’s What’s For Dinner

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

A deep-sea crab walks into a pub and asked, ”Where’s the bar tender?”
Few deep-sea organisms rely on food originally from land.  Most deep-sea dwellers rely on  marine snow (detritus raining from the surface), large food falls like dead whales, or chemosynthetic pathways like those at hot vents and cold seeps.  This makes sense.  How much land [...]... Read more »

  • November 23, 2009
  • 06:52 AM

On the Mythical Adaptationist and the Pretend Pluralist’s Aimless Plea

by Johnny in Ecographica

Apparently, the author is under the impression that the world’s evolutionary biologists can be dichotomously classified as either ‘adaptationists’ or ‘pluarlists.’ And further, that those classified in the former category should seek reincarnation as enlightened members of the latter... the argument begins (predictably) with Stephen J. Gould and Richard C. Lewontin’s ‘The Spandrels of San Marco,’ an article originally published by the Royal Society in 1979. The broad point of the........ Read more »

  • November 23, 2009
  • 06:00 AM

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair – A Prospective Evaluation of Tendon Integrity at 1- and 2-Years

by Mike Reinold in

The amount of arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs being performed has skyrocketed in recent years.  The last 20 years or so have seen the transition from a full open approach, to a combined arthroscopic and mini-open technique, to the current all-arthroscopic technique.  The implications on rehabilitation are enormous, as patients are recovering faster with less pain and surrounding tissue involvement. Initially, the strength of these arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs was in question a........ Read more »

Nho SJ, Adler RS, Tomlinson DP, Allen AA, Cordasco FA, Warren RF, Altchek DW, & MacGillivray JD. (2009) Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair: prospective evaluation with sequential ultrasonography. The American journal of sports medicine, 37(10), 1938-45. PMID: 19531660  

  • November 23, 2009
  • 05:26 AM

Sunday Protist - Litostomatea: rumen ciliates with incredible morphology

by Psi Wavefunction in Skeptic Wonder

Scary lab exam in 9h, so this one will be another 'protist appreciation' compilation rather than anything particularly informative. Today this maltreatment will be inflicted upon some poor ciliates, which deserve much more than just a simple appreciation post. Ciliates ARE the higher eukaryotes, the most advanced and awesome organisms on earth. What god created in his/her/its image wasn't the ugly naked humans, it was, in fact, Spirotrich ciliates. Everything else is just basal offshoots, failed........ Read more »

  • November 23, 2009
  • 05:00 AM

Introducing the Magombera Chameleon

by Laura Klappenbach in About Animals / Wildlife

Attention all chameleon fans! It's official: there is now one more species of chameleon known to science. Meet the Magombera chameleon, aka Kinyongia magomberae, a small chameleon with a long tail and a delicate spattering of colors. Although most of its body scales are a soft grey-brown hue, this little lizard is far from dull.
... Read more »

MICHELE MENEGON, KRYSTAL A. TOLLEY, TREVOR JONES,, FRANCES COROVERO, ANDREW R. MARSHALL, & . (2009) A new species of chameleon (Sauria: Chamaeleonidae: Kinyongia) from the Magombera forest and the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, Tanzania. African Journal of Herpetology, 58(2), 59-70. info:/

  • November 23, 2009
  • 02:39 AM

The Functional Neuroanatomy of Depression

by Dr Shock in Dr Shock MD PhD

Based on the results from functional neuroimaging studies, lesion patient studies and brain stimulation studies two important brain areas play an important role in the pathophysiology of depression. These two brain area s are the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex is depicted in red on the picture above [...]

Related posts:New Kind of Brain Stimulation for Treatment Resistant Depression In a recent online publication abou........ Read more »

  • November 22, 2009
  • 10:29 PM

Targeted Sequencing Bags a Diagnosis

by Keith Robison in Omics! Omics!

A nice complement to the one paper (Ng et al) I detailed last week is a paper that actually came out just before hand (Choi et al). Whereas the Ng paper used whole exome targeted sequencing to find the mutation for a previously unexplained rare genetic disease, the Choi et al paper used a similar scheme (though with a different choice of targeting platform) to find a known mutation in a patient, thereby diagnosing the patient.The patient in question has a tightly interlocked pedigree (Figure 2)........ Read more »

Choi M, Scholl UI, Ji W, Liu T, Tikhonova IR, Zumbo P, Nayir A, Bakkaloğlu A, Ozen S, Sanjad S.... (2009) Genetic diagnosis by whole exome capture and massively parallel DNA sequencing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(45), 19096-101. PMID: 19861545  

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